What is it?
The Cardiff Award is a structured award that offers recognition for your extracurricular activities, work experience and personal development. It aims to prepare students for the graduate recruitment process through a series of activities and tasks which can be accessed through your career journey account.
How do you get it?
Signing up to take part in the award is super easy. You simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, student number, email address and your course, including what year you are currently in. The only condition is that you must submit your portfolio by April 1st in the year you are due to graduate.
There are three steps to achieving The Cardiff Award: explore, develop and compete.
- Explore: this step involves self-awareness, and consists of indicators for personality, skills and attributes and opportunities.
- Develop: a five-step section which aims to promote personal development and allows you to understand how to articulate your skills. You must complete sessions based on CVs and cover letters, take part in at least 70 hours of activities ranging from volunteering, work experience, extracurricular activities, and then reflect on each of these activities. There are also 5 employability sessions to complete, and you must submit a CV to be reviewed by a career’s advisor. It might sound like a lot, but this can be done at your own pace and is completely flexible around your studies.
- Compete: the final step to achieving your Cardiff Award involves some practice for the recruitment process. You need to take part in one recruitment experience from a choice of a mock interview, mock video interview, mock assessment centre, business plan summary of a psychometric test.
Once you’ve completed these three steps, it’s time to submit your portfolio for The Cardiff Award! You’ll get an answer within 4 weeks to confirm whether you’ve achieved your certificate, or if you’ve missed something out.
Why is it worth it?
It’s self-managed, meaning that you can work on it at your own pace in your free time. It enables you to understand and reflect on your strengths and abilities. Taking part in the CV and Cover Letter sessions will enable you to understand what employers are looking for, and submitting your CV for review by a career’s advisor will give you that valuable feedback which could make all the difference in the application process for a graduate job.
It gives you a push to take part in activities that will benefit your skillset, and reflect on these to understand what you’ve done, what graduate attributes you’ve shown and how you can improve.
Upon completion of The Cardiff Award you’ll receive a digital certificate that can be printed out, used on LinkedIn and it’ll also go on your Higher Education Achievement Record which employers will be able to access. It’ll allow you stand out amongst competitors and is another example you can talk about during the recruitment process.
I recently completed the Cardiff Award in April 2020. I’ve been working towards it since February 2019, so it’s taken me just over a year. I’ve worked on it during my spare time, making sure to record and reflect on activities towards my 70 hours such as being a student mentor, volunteering at student rep events, and part-time work.
The CV and cover letter sessions have been great help to me when applying for placements and are something that I will always refer to in the future when it comes to applying for graduate jobs.
For the compete section of the award, I chose an online mock video interview. The university use a site called Shortlister which give you 6 types of interview to choose from. It involved a pre-recorded video of with an interviewer asking a question, I would then record my answer using my laptop camera and microphone. This allowed me to watch back each video of myself and analyse my body language and how I could improve my answer. It also gave pointers for each question once you had answered it, so you understand what kind of things you should have talked about. There were 6 questions, so a great range to practice from. No one can see this mock interview but you, so it’s great to use in preparation for the real thing!
Overall, the entire process of completing The Cardiff Award has been enjoyable. It’s allowed me to understand the importance of taking part in a range of activities whilst at university and reflect upon them to understand what skills I have acquired and what I could do differently. The online sessions have been great to work through and have really helped me understand what goes on in the graduate recruitment process and have enabled me to be as prepared as possible. I’ll always go back and look at these when it comes to applying for graduate jobs!
I would recommend anyone to take part in The Cardiff Award.
To access your career journey account and find the Cardiff Award portfolio page, click here.